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A conjunction is a word "that connects words, phrases and clauses in a sentence" (source: Cambridge Advanced Learner's Dictionary).

For example: The cat and the dog are playing outside.

For an extensive explanation of conjunctions, including information regarding coordinating, subordinating, and correlative conjunctions, please visit "Conjunctions" (Capital Community College Foundation).

Coordinating conjunctions

Coordinating conjunctions serve to join clauses within a sentence. There are seven coordinating conjunctions: and, nor, but, so, for, or, and yet.

For example: I like vanilla cake, but chocolate is my favourite.

Tip: When writing for an academic audience, avoid starting a sentence with a conjunction.Since conjunctions serve to join two independent clauses, they should not be used to start a sentence.

For more information regarding how to punctuate independent clauses joined by a coordinating conjunction, please see the presentation titled "Punctuating sentences: Commas, semi-colons, and colons".